I became aware of Charles Bradley in 2015 and instantly took to his music. There was something in him that reminded me of two biblical figures that I’ve long loved: David, the psalmist, and Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Bradley had both the heart and voice of a poet- prophet. One will hear in many of his songs the spirit of a man trying to stay righteous and honest and decent in a world that is going up in flames.
In many of the people I grew up with, I see a Christianity that is not informed by spiritual and civil rights leaders like Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, and Cesar Chavez. I wonder how differently our country would have been shaped had we been taught to be open to the Spirit’s moving in and through such prophets.
Leisure is an end in itself, a time to dwell on the beauty of creation, to read a challenging book, to be carried away listening to a soaring symphony, to catch one’s breath at a stunning work of art, a time to step back to admire the work that one has done. It is a time to worship and pray, the highest forms of leisure. It is a time to contemplate goodness and allow that goodness and all these meaningful activities to re-create us.
Good art, good literature, helps us imagine what a new normal and a new world can be. It is vital in times like these to seek out that which helps us imagine a better world and encourages us to work together, perhaps in small ways like Sarah Smith, to build this new world now.